Any colour as long as it’s black

Five Testarossas at RM auction

Ford famously only offered the Model T in any colour as long as it was black – but if you’re a Ferrari fan with an affection for the dark side, RM Sotheby’s has a selection of Testarossa variants up for grabs at its Villa Erba sale in late May.

At the time of writing is it unclear how the so-called Back on Black Collection came to be, but it’s rare to see any black Testarossa, let alone five in one place. “As a marque that is synonymous with the colour red, black Ferraris are not only fewer in number but it is also a colour that gives Ferrari cars a highly purposeful look,” says RM Sotheby’s Stephan Knobloch. “For me, a black Testarossa is the ultimate specification, and these five cars present a very rare opportunity.”


This 1986 Ferrari Testarossa ‘Monospecchio’ has an estimate of between €120,000 and €180,000.

Working through the collection chronologically, we begin with a 1986 Ferrari Testarossa ‘Monospecchio’, so called because it features a single high-level side mirror. This design decision was due to an interpretation of European regulations at the time. It retains the earlier cars’ magnesium ‘knock-off’ wheels, although as a 1986-spec car the rim sizes measure 16in in diameter, with a width of 8in at the front and 10in at the rear, an increase over the earlier cars’. It’s estimated at between €120,000 and €180,000.


This 1987 Ferrari Testarossa ‘Monodado’ is estimated at between €120,000 and €180,000.

The Monodado models are known for their 16in knock-off wheels, but with the helpful addition of an extra rear-view mirror, and at a height that isn’t near your scalp. This particular example has an estimate of between €120,000 and €180,000.


This 1989 Ferrari Testarossa is estimated at between €100,000 and €150,000.

In 1988, the first major revisions started to be seen; while the wheel design still resembled that of the original car, the ‘knock-off’ style had been replaced with a five-stud pattern similar to those of other Ferraris of the time. The suspension was also revised, but the introduction of the mandatory catalytic converter in mid-1989 took power down from 385bhp in non-cat European spec to 376bhp, although this was an improvement on the 365bhp in Euro cat-spec models from 1984-89. This particular car was originally delivered to Italy, via Concessionaria Autoterminal SpA. It’s estimated at between €100,000 and €150,000.

1992 FERRARI 512 TR

This Ferrari 512 TR has an estimate of between €180,000 and €250,000.

Ferrari extensively reworked the Testarossa for 1991, giving it a new name in the process. The exterior changes are subtle but effective, with a reprofiled nose, new light units and spoilers, plus other subtle tricks from Pininfarina’s Pietro Camardella. However, it is the engine that got much of the attention, with Nikasil liners, a revised air-intake system, a new Bosch engine-management set-up, engorged intake valves and a refreshed exhaust system.

While the headlines were all about the peak power cresting at 422bhp to deliver a 4.8-second 0-60mph time and a 195mph top speed, the engine was tuned for greater driveability, too. This was a major theme of the development programme, with a new single-plate clutch, sliding ball bearings and relocated gearchange knob implemented to deal with complaints about awkward shifts. The brakes were also revised with larger cross-drilled front discs, and there was a quicker steering rack, lower-profile tyres and revised damper settings as well. However, the critical factor was the repositioning of the engine and gearbox to improve handling and make the car more usable day-to-day. This particular example is estimated at between €180,000 and €250,000.

The auction takes place on May 20, 2023 at Villa Erba on the shore of Lake Como, Italy. More details are available here.